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not seizing Banks' Ford. The capture of his whole corps would then have been inevitable, for we held the access to Fredericksburg guarded. As it was, Hooker was able to cross the river under cover of night with all of his army but what had been lost in the casualties of the fight; and the Southern public were again treated to the old excuse that we had neither the men nor the facilities to pursue him.
But, notwithstanding these deficiencies of our victory, it was a great and brilliant one, and it gave the Confederacy occasion of pride second to none in the war. The Confederates had whipped what Hooker entitled "the finest army on the planet." They had done this with an effective fighting force which, compared with that of the enemy, was as three to ten. They had put thirty thousand of the enemy hors du combat, while our own casualties did not foot up more than one-third of that number. This battle, more than anything else, confirmed the fame of General Lee; for, however it had failed in accomplishing all that was possible, it was at least a victory won against an enemy of superior numbers, who had the advantage of the initiative and naturally secured that of position.
General Hooker had come with eight days' rations and a plan of battle combining all that was essential on paper to a complete success. General Lee had to watch the movements of Hooker until they were developed; to arrest his progress by attack; to engage him at the same time with a flank movement with a portion of his forces; and then to transfer his blows to Sedgwick. All this was done with a readiness of combination that showed a high order of military ability. Hooker was defeated by two critical circumstances: the flank movement of Jackson, executed with signal rapidity and decision, and the failure of Sedgwick to effect a junction. It was these movements and interpositions directed by Lee which ranked him among the greatest of modern strategists. He was now recognized as the master military mind of the Confederacy.
General Lee had, by a perceptible progress, risen to be one of the most remarkable men of the revolution. His military life had been one of steady advancement. He had graduated at West Point in 1829, at the head of his class; and it is said that, in that severe school and early test of the soldier, he had never been marked with a demerit or had received a repri
mand. He had twice been brevetted in the Mexican war. For thirty years he had served the United States, and the period of disunion found him lieutenant-colonel of that famous regiment of cavalry of which Sydney Johnson was colonel.
Upon the secession of Virginia he was appointed commanderin-chief of her forces, and organized an army with a system and rapidity that at once surprised and gratified the public. When President Davis made his appointments of generals, he was the third on the list: General Cooper being first, and General Sydney Johnson second. The appointments were made with reference to the rank held by each officer in the old army. The unfortunate campaign of General Lee in Western Virginia in the first year of the war threw a shadow on his fame; it disappointed his admirers and occasioned a very general denunciation of his ability. The battles around Richmond secured his fame. There was, in fact, but little military merit in them; but there was a great success, and results alone are the standards of popular appreciation. It was when General Lee moved out to the line of the Rappahannock that the true display of his abilities commenced; and his title to a substantial and abiding fame he had now crowned with the victory of Chancellorsville.
No one had ever accused General Lee of "genius." A sedate, methodical man, putting duty before everything else, illustrating the unselfish and Christian orders of virtue, almost sublime in his magnanimity, and uniting with these qualities a fair intellectual ability and an excellent practical judgment, this modern copy of Washington had nothing with which to dazzle mankind, but much with which to win its sober admiration. It has often been remarked how entirely limited by professional routine was the circle of intellectual accomplishments in the old army of the United States. Thirty years in this school had not made General Lee an "Admirable Crichton." Outside of his profession, his conversation was limited to a few commonplaces; he knew nothing of literature, and never attempted to draw an illustration from history. But the stranger who was at first shocked at such poverty of accomplishments in one so famous was soon won to admiration by the charming simplicity of a man who knew but little outside of the line of his duty, but in that was pre-eminently able
and thoroughly heroic. It may be said of him that he was one of those few self-depreciating men whose magnanimity was not sentimental, and whose modesty was not unmanly.
In taking up the thread of our story after the battle of Chancellorsville, we must now follow this great commander in one of the most extraordinary movements of the war, and to one of its most critical and imposing fields.
A great battle had now been twice fought on the line of the Rappahannock with no other effect than driving the enemy back to the hills of Stafford. The position was one in which he could not be attacked to advantage. It was on this reflection that General Lee resolved to maneuver Hooker out of Virginia, to clear the Shenandoah Valley of the troops of the enemy, and to renew the experiment of the transfer of hostilities north of the Potomac. It was a blow to the summer campaign of the enemy, calculated to disarrange it and relieve other parts of the Confederacy, but, above all, aimed at the prize of a great victory on Northern soil, long the aspiration of the Southern public.
The movement commenced on the 3d of June. The army of Northern Virginia had been thoroughly reorganized, and the question of Stonewall Jackson's successor had been determined to the satisfaction of the country. About the 20th of May the President commissioned both Major-generals R. S. Ewell and A. P. Hill as lieutenant-generals in the army of Northern Virginia. To each of these generals a corps was assigned, consisting of three divisions, General Longstreet, for this purpose, parting with one of his divisions (Anderson's), and A. P. Hill's old division being reduced by two brigades, was assigned to Major-general W. D. Pender. The two brigades thus taken from A. P. Hill's division, were united with Pettigrew's and another North Carolina brigade, and assigned to Major-general Heth, who, with Major-general Pender, was promoted from the rank of brigadier-generals. General A. P. Hill was assigned to the command of this corps, whilst General Ewell retained General Jackson's old corps, consisting of Early's division; Early having been made a Major-general in February, and receiving command of Ewell's old division; Rode's division and Trimble's division, to which General Edward Johnson, then just promoted to a major-gen
eralship, was assigned. Five of the six major-generals in the infantry department of this army, and the two corps generals, received their promotion within the twelve months past.
On the 3d of June McLaw's division of Longstreet's corps left Fredericksburg for Culpepper Court-house, and Hood's division, which was occupied on the Rapidan, marched to the same place. General Ewell's corps took up the line of march from its camps near Fredericksburg on the morning of June 4th, moving in the direction of Culpeper Court-House. On the same evening Longstreet's corps moved in the same direction. On Friday, June 5th, the enemy crossed a force below Fredericksburg, near the Bernard House, as if they intended to move once more upon our lines, stretching from Hamilton's crossing up to Fredericksburg. Ewell and Longstreet were halted at or near Locust Grove, in Orange county, to await the issue of the movement. Hooker having made this diversion in our front, set himself to work in removing his stores and in retiring his troops from the Stafford heights.
The forces of Longstreet and Ewell reached Culppeper Courthouse by the 8th, at which point the cavalry, under General Stuart, was also concentrated. On the 9th a large force of Federal cavalry, strongly supported by infantry, crossed the Rappahannock at Beverly's and Kelly's fords, and attacked General Stuart. A severe engagement ensued, continuing from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, when the enemy was forced to recross the river with heavy loss, leaving four hundred prisoners, three pieces of artillery, and several colors in our hands.
This affair, popularly known as that of Brandy Station, was distinguished by an extraordinary exploit of Confederate troops. In one of the charges the Eleventh Virginia cavalry, under Colonel Lomax, captured, the third and last time, a battery of three pieces, the Sixth regiment and Thirty-fifth battalion having done so before them. Pushing his success, he divided his regiment, sending a squadron after the fugitives east of the railroad, while, with the remainder of his regiment, he assailed three regiments of cavalry, awaiting him at the depot. He routed this whole force completely.
THE CAPTURE OF WINCHESTER.
General Jenkins, with his cavalry brigade, had been ordered to advance towards Winchester to co-operate with the infantry in the proposed expedition into the Lower Valley, and at the same time General Imboden was directed, with his command, to make a demonstration in the direction of Romney, in order to cover the movement against Winchester, and prevent the enemy at that place from being reinforced by the troops on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Both of these officers were in position when General Ewell left Culpepper Courthouse, on the 16th. Crossing the Shenandoah near Front Royal, he detached Rodes' division to Berryville with instructions, after dislodging the forces stationed there, to cut off the communication between Winchester and the Potomac. With the divisions of Early and Johnson, General Ewell advanced directly upon Winchester, driving the enemy into his works around the town on the 13th. On the same day the troops at Berryville fell back before General Rodes, retreating to Winchester. Lieutenant-general Ewell, after consultation with Major-general Early, determined upon a flank movement, in order to reduce the town, as preferable to an assault in front. General Early at once began to move to attack a work of the enemy on the Pughtown road, on a hill commanding their main fort.
About an hour before sunset, on the evening of the 14th of June, General Early, without encountering scout or picket, was in easy cannon range of the enemy's work, which it was his purpose to assault. He at once set to work making disposition of his forces preparatory to the attack. Twenty pieces of artillery were placed in position. Hay's Louisiana brigade was now ordered to prepare for the charge. Our artillery opened a vigorous and well-directed fire on the enemy's works and guns. They responded with considerable spirit. Then Hay's Lousianians moved forward to the music of our cannon, which were still playing upon the works of the enemy. No Yankee dared show his head above the parapet. When our men got within two hundred yards of the enemy's works, suddenly our artillery ceased. And now Hay's men charge over an abattis,